Published: 10:15 GMT Standard Time - Thursday 27 November 2014
Aasia Bibi files appeal in Pakistan’s top court
Country/Region: Pakistan, South and East Asia
The Christian mother of five children, sentenced to death for “blasphemy” in Pakistan, has filed an appeal to the country’s top court on 24 November. After the High Court in Lahore upheld Aasia Bibi’s conviction on 16 October, this appeal is her last recourse in the Pakistani judicial system.
|Aasia Bibi files appeal to Pakistan’s top court in final recourse to clear her of “blasphemy” death sentence|
Her lawyer, Saiful Malook, has asked the court to reconsider the case on the basis of manipulated and deficient evidence, and in particular the delay between the time of the incident and the police investigation. In a statement, he said “We expect an early hearing of the appeal and hope that the proceedings will be over in one year.”
Aasia Bibi was arrested in June 2009 and has been on death row since 2010 after she was accused of insulting the prophet Mohammed when she was working with some Muslim women in a field. A dispute ensued when the women said that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to touch the water bowl.
Her husband wrote an open letter to the president of Pakistan last week, requesting a presidential pardon and permission to move to France, where they have been offered refuge. 54 British MPs also signed a letter addressed to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Justice Nasir-Ul-Mulk appealing for their urgent attention to Aasia’s case.
Although no one has yet been executed for “blasphemy” in Pakistan, it is a highly sensitive issue that often leads to mob violence and there is a high risk of attack for those accused. There are currently 17 people on death row who have been accused of “blasphemy”, five of whom are Christians.